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Waterstones drops a clanger

By Nicky Weston

January 18, 2012 | 3 min read

Waterstone's decision to rebrand and drop the apostrophe from its logo sparked a few headlines, mainly from people wondering why they were worried about it. Nicky Weston, account director for retail & leisure at Willoughby PR takes up the case.

As wordsmiths, if there’s one topic that’s sure to get a PR team debating it’s the rights and wrongs of words and grammar.

So, when I heard the news that Waterstone’s is to drop the apostrophe in its trading name and logo, I knew the WPR office was in for a spot of banter.

Instant mumblings referred to ‘another nail in the coffin for the death of the English language’ as well as ‘the grammatically incorrectness’ of the new name. All valid points and all rather ironic really given that as a bookshop, you wouldn’t expect Waterstone’s, sorry Waterstones, to be so ‘slapdash’ with their English.

It is exciting to see words constantly been simplified and adapted. Every year the Collins dictionary gets bigger and bigger with more and more slang words making an appearance...it is all about moving with the times after all! But surely when it comes to grammar there is only a right and a wrong way?

With the new MD claiming that the apostrophe drop was to make the spelling more practical and versatile in a digital world, I did have to smile reading the catty comments being posted by the world’s twitterati, presumably for who this name change was intended.

One scathing post said: ‘Waterstone’s are acting like the middle-aged classical music fan, who pretends to like a bit of hip hop’.

I really couldn’t have put it better myself.

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